Within the next week or so, Patrick Kane is expected to make an official decision on what he wants to do ahead of the March 3 trade deadline. PCB Buffer
If the Blackhawks' franchise icon decides he wants to explore a trade, the list of teams he will give Chicago will be short. He has confirmed as much publicly.
"I don't think the number will be six," Kane said. "But obviously you want to do right by the franchise. The organization here has been amazing to me and given me so much, so you definitely want what's best for both sides."
That said, it won't be an easy task for Kane and the Blackhawks to find a potential fit that works for both parties. For one, the New York Rangers were one of his top choices "if things were going to happen," but they are presumably off the table after the Vladimir Tarsenko trade.
The salary cap obviously complicates things as well. It takes two to tango, which means there needs to be a combination of mutual interest amongst Kane, the Blackhawks and the interested team, and the financial flexibility and assets to execute a deal.
While his potential list won't be this long, here are seven trade-deadline options for Kane as he ponders his future:
The Hurricanes are as well-oiled a machine as you'll find, and they have some newfound cap space with the unfortunate injury to Max Pacioretty, who tore his Achilles for the second time in a year. It sounds like their top priority is a second-line center, but they may have room to add a winger, too. Historically though, the Hurricanes don't like giving up significant packages for rentals. My bigger question is, would Kane be interested in Carolina? Not so sure of it.
The Stars might make the most sense for Kane if we're talking purely about fit. They're the No. 1 seed in a wide-open Western Conference with elite goaltending but could use an upgrade on their second-line wing to pair with Tyler Seguin. Well, how about Kane, who played with Seguin in Switzerland during the 2012-13 lockout? The one complicating factor about a possible deal from Chicago's standpoint: Dallas doesn't have its first-round pick in 2023, so the two sides would have to try ironing out a deal without it.
When they're clicking, the Kings are as difficult to beat as any in the West. And they also have a loaded prospect pool, meaning they'd have the assets to swing big. But the fact they're being mentioned as the front-runner to land Jakob Chychrun shows you where their main attention is. Still, it could be a longshot option for Kane.
The Devils are for real, but they're probably not at the point where they want to give up a major haul for a rental. It's why you hear Timo Meier's name linked to New Jersey, because he could be a long-term fit to play on a line with Jack Hughes for the next decade. But Kane and Hughes together on a line? Electric.
The Maple Leafs are a team, I believe, Kane would seriously entertain. They check so many boxes:
I just don't know if this is feasible from the Maple Leafs' point of view or if there's a strong desire for it from a team need standpoint. The Maple Leafs would have to move players out to make the money work, and it would also prevent them from shoring up other parts of their roster. They probably are looking to tinker more than they're trying to hit a home run. But if Kane makes it known that Toronto is high on his list, would the Maple Leafs have to really consider? The thought of Kane in Toronto would be fireworks.
Like Dallas, if we're talking strictly about fit, the Golden Knights seem like a no-brainer. Kane could be the playoff game-breaker Vegas has lacked over the years, and he'd be able to play with fellow American Jack Eichel, who skated on a line with Kane at the BioSteel Camp in Toronto before training camp. The money would work if the Golden Knights place Mark Stone (back) on long-term injured reserve, and no team likes to make a splash more than Vegas.
I saved the Blackhawks for last, because we can't rule out the possibility Kane finishes the season in Chicago. If the Rangers were one of his top choices and he's not crazy about what else is out there, perhaps he'd choose to see how the draft lottery shakes out and then reasses his options over the summer.
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